Vegas forward Phil Kessel ties NHL record for consecutive games

Phil Kessel tied the NHL record for consecutive games played when he hit the ice for the Vegas Golden Knights' 3-1 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Kessel, 35, played in his 989th straight NHL game, a streak that began on Nov. 3, 2009, when Kessel was a member of the Leafs. That tied the record established by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle last season, a streak that ended on March 29, 2022.

Kessel is scheduled to play in his 990th straight game for sole possession of the iron man record when the Golden Knights visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

"I've played a lot of games and it's better when you win," Kessel said. "If we can do it tomorrow, that'd be great."

Kessel started the game with linemates Michael Amadio and Brett Howden, tying the record as the opening puck was dropped. His shift lasted 6 seconds.

Kessel appeared to score his first goal as a Golden Knight -- and the 400th of his career -- later in the first period. However, it was overturned on an offside call via a Toronto coach's challenge. But less than a minute later, he assisted on Nicolas Roy's power-play goal that opened the scoring.

Kessel played 12:35 with one shot attempt but was still named the game's first star for tying the record.

"I think they wanted to play well for Phil. I mean, what would be a better script: He scores the first goal, it's his 400th goal, and he ties the record. It's unfortunate that it didn't stand," Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Maybe it's setting the stage for tomorrow."

The Golden Knights improved to 4-2 on the season.

Yandle, who retired after last season, shattered Doug Jarvis' NHL-record run of 964 consecutive games that ended in October 1987. As soon as Yandle set the record, many assumed Kessel would be the one to catch him. The winger entered his first season with the Golden Knights having played 982 straight games.

"It's a cool thing, obviously. It means I played a lot of games, right?" Kessel said before Monday night's game. "I don't know. I just try to play no matter what. I've been fortunate over the years."

Kessel said there were times when he was worried that his streak could end.

"Oh yeah. There's been plenty of those. But we're here now," said Kessel. "There's obviously a lot of luck. There are some nights you could have missed throughout the time."

The closest Kessel came to having the streak end wasn't for an injury. On March 8, 2022, Kessel played one 30-second shift against the Detroit Red Wings to keep his streak alive before hopping on a charter flight arranged by the Arizona Coyotes for the birth of his daughter, Kapri Mary Kessel. He returned to the team two days later in Toronto to keep the streak going.